A proposal next legislative session seeks to make it easier for needle exchange programs to open up in New Hampshire.
The state’s first needle exchange program launched in June in Claremont. But was forced to shut its doors after just a few months, because it was within 1,000 feet of a school zone, something not permitted under the law.
Valley Regional Hospital CEO Peter Wright says he’s more than happy to run the program out of his hospital in Claremont, but that’s also too close to a school.
“So, I think when you start looking at a cross section of where can we do and how does that match with who would want to do it and then cross that over with school zones and stuff it becomes there is no place in this town that it can be done," Wright said.
The new proposal would exempt healthcare facilities from the school zone restriction, as long as school leaders agree. Wright said he hopes this change can happen quick because the community needs a place where drug users can get new needles and drop off used ones.